booklet: (German, English, French) · text
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"Ein Deutsches Requiem" is the work of an artist, who decidedly stood apart from the belief into the hereafter, and thus also apart from the Christian creeds. And yet, it is the most original work ever to be written for Protestantism in German language. More than any other, it takes the same liberty as once Luther did to found its Credo on the Bible itself.
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After recording numerous choral works such as the St. Matthew Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach and the Great Mass in C minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, conductor Ennoch zu Guttenberg has now turned to Johannes Brahms’ "German Requiem". With the choir and orchestra of the Czech State Philharmonics Brno as well as the soloists Dietrich Henschel (baritone) and Malin Hartelius (soprano), he had a great ensemble at his disposal. … The choir of the Brno State Philharmonics can undoubtedly be referred to as outstanding. An especially positive highlight was the choir’s soprano, who effortlessly mastered even difficult passages with an extraordinary beautiful and clear sound. In the great "Tutti" parts, the choir truly sparks fireworks and a rush of sounds. The sixth movement "Zu der Zeit der letzten Posaune" is an expressively beautiful example for that. The choir’s climax in the second movement "Denn alles Fleisch, es ist wie Gras" is just as impressive. Thus, the repetition of the passage is even more emphatic then the original one.
Malin Hartelius’s soprano solo in the fifth movement is both graceful in sound and expressive. Guttenberg’s colleague Richard Hickox required 74 minutes for the work’s performance, Roger Norrington and Wolfgang Sawallisch 68 minutes each, Kurt Masur 60 minutes, and Philippe Herreweghe actually needed no longer than 58 minutes. With approximately 77 minutes, Guttenberg’s interpretation is one of the slowest ones, which is first and foremost due to the very measured tempi of the first and last movements. However, this simple time comparison has no negative connotation, since everything has a very dynamically graduated and vibrant effect to it. Guttenberg demands a lot from his musicians and the audience profits from it.
All in all, it is a very beautiful recording with expressive moments. This CD can confidently be admitted to one’s personal collection. It is especially appropriate for those who, until now, have merely owned the recording of the German Requiem by Philippe Herreweghe and are now looking for a modern one, since it represents the very opposite, as far as the tempi are concerned. klassik.com, Boris Boechel, 01.04.03
"This revised, new edition featuring the choir and orchestra of the State Philharmonics Brno conducted by Enoch zu Guttenberg inspires with its brilliant sound, its detailed interpretation." Neue Zeit (Austria), 12.04.01